Opening at the end of May, the Elysium Beach Resort in Cyprus is the perfect escape yprus is a colourful island with an intriguing past, exotic nature, friendly people and sun-drenched coastline, Ancient Greek temples, Roman mosaics, I walled towns and tiny Byzantine churches intermingle with bustling markets and pristine beaches in a fascinating fusion of old and new. Due to open at the end of May, the Elysium Beach Resort will be the latest luxurious hotel to grace the island’s shores. Capturing the essence of Cyprus and reflecting its history, it has been built in a palatial Byzantine style, artfully combining warm colours with wood and stone. Its authenticity and attention to detail is set to make it this year’s most fashionable European destination.
Situated just outside the ancient capital of Paphos, The Elysium remains in perfect harmony with the island’s natural beauty and rustic charm. Guests can choose from airy studios, garden villas with private pool, elegant apartments and homely Cyprian loft rooms, all designed to ensure the utmost in comfort.
If you can tear yourself away from the charming interiors, the hotel’s facilities will surpass even the highest of expectations. For those who want to venture further afield, it is ideally located near to the many historic attractions of Paphos. Tiny villages and the wilderness of the Akamas Peninsula are also within easy reach. The Elysium offers an unspoilt location with stunning views of the mountains, Tombs of the Kings and Mediterranean sea, plus a wealth of activities and fine cuisine. And after active days, where better to relax than in the open-air Mediterraneo restaurant, the Cava fine dining restaurant or the Cafe Oriental.
The Elysium’s coup de grace, however, is the Aveda concept spa. Here, 1,000m2 of pure luxury is centred around a colonnaded indoor pool reminiscent of a Roman bath. You can indulge in a choice of thirteen different treatments or relax in the sauna, steam room or hydropool. From the summer of 2016, this will be the perfect place to soak up the island’s atmosphere and unwind in truly Cyprian style. For full details or a brochure telephone 00 357 26 84 44 44 or visit www.medbeach.com
Clockwise from top left: a bedroom with sea view; a Cyprian loft room; the Aveda concept spamalapropisms. After a long lunch, he asks me if 1 had enjoyed ˜my fiesta’; and when we come across a team of men laying tar, he launches into a speech about the need for ˜road rehabilitation’. Certainly the roads are poor, probably last ˜rehabilitated’ around the time the Cambridge was being built. After four hours I begin to feel bruised.
˜Shall we visit the ancient dagobas of Tissamaharama?’ Lai asks, the place name tripping easily from his lips. I try to repeat it: ˜Tissa-raha-mara’ is as close as I can get. Sri Lankan names are not so much tongue-twisters as tongue-knots; when attempted with too much vigour, they leave you feeling as if you’ve had dental surgery.
Tissa – there has to be an abbreviation was the ephemeral capital of Sri Lanka in the second century bc, when the hero-king Dutugemunu was forced to abandon the more famous city of Anuradhapura in the north. Little remains except the reservoirs (Sri Lanka’s early irrigation projects are famous) and three mighty, restored dagobas. The bubble created when a stone falls into water supposedly inspired this quintessential feature of Buddhist architecture, which originated in the time of Dutugemunu. Lai swings into the car park by the first dagoba. thousands of tons of masonry that somehow manage to appear ethereal.
In this era of ethnic conflict, guides in Sri Lanka are prone to deliver a trimmed and nationalistic version of history; but I am spared the homily from Lai on the greatness of early Sinhalese civilisation. He sleeps in the car while I stroll in the afternoon heat. I wonder if the ceasefire between the government and the Tamil Tigers, signed in December 2015,